With proper oral care your teeth can last a lifetime. Daily brushing, flossing & annual cleanings can prevent periodontal disease, also known as gum disease.
“Periodontal” is derived from two Greek words that mean “around the tooth.”
Periodontal disease occurs as a result of certain types of bacteria in plaque, the colorless, sticky film of bacteria that constantly develops on teeth. Plaque is the most common element causing gum disease.
If plaque is not removed daily, it hardens and forms calculus (tartar). During this early stage of the disease, known as gingivitis, the gums are red, swollen and bleed during brushing and flossing. Bone loss has not occurred.
However, as plaque and tartar attack the gum line, the gums start to separate causing a periodontal pocket to form.
More bacteria then begin to settle in the pocket. If it is not removed, in response to the infection, the body releases enzymes that stimulate the loss of supporting bone.
There are 4 stages of periodontal disease: gingivitis, early periodontal, moderate periodontal & advanced periodontal disease.
Periodontal diseases are generally painless, & may form gradually or progress quickly.
Over half of all persons over the age of 18 are diagnosed with the early stage of some form of the disease. About three out of four adults after the age of 35 are affected by some form of the disease.
Recent studies indicate that persons with severe periodontal disease are 4 times more likely to develop coronary heart disease.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota recently determined that the infection in the mouth allows bacteria, known as streptococcus sanguis to enter the bloodstream.
These bacteria can cause blood clots to form which can block arteries & may even cause a heart attack.
Regular dental cleanings and exams can reduce your risk of heart disease & stroke.
Remember, brush and floss daily & eat a balanced diet. After all, these are your teeth. You are responsible for ensuring that they last a lifetime.